Premature termination from child and adolescent psychotherapy is a prevalent problem for clients, their families, and mental health services. Rates of premature termination have been estimated at a range of 16-72%. Many variables have been examined as potential predictors of premature termination, yielding inconsistent conclusions. Researchers propose that part of this variability in rates and predictors is due to the inconsistent application of definitions of premature termination. The past literature identifies two main categories of definitions in this line of research: therapist judgment and number of sessions. This study aims to incorporate a relatively new definition, clinically significant change, in the evaluation of premature termination rates and predictor variables in a sample of adolescents receiving treatment in three community mental health clinics. Results showed that 65.7% of the participants were classified as premature terminators under the definition of clinically significant change. Premature termination was significantly correlated with parenting skills and ratings of the therapeutic alliance by both the parent and adolescent. However, the only variable that predicted PT was the therapeutic alliance as rated by the adolescent. It appears that, rather than having a small range of rates and universal predictors of premature termination, it may depend on the definition that is chosen.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bullock, Mariah Meaalii, "Rates and Predictors of Adolescent Premature Termination: Applying Clinically Significant Change" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 6687.
psychotherapy, adolescent, premature termination, clinically significant change